Bacon Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Bacon annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Bacon gets its unique flavor from pork, salt, fat, and sometimes added sugar. The meat is a popular choice and favorite because of its unbeatable taste.

Bacon comes from the pig’s belly and is salt-cured and often smoked before it reaches grocery store shelves. 

Most of the fat melts off when cooked and can be drained by putting cooked bacon on a plate stacked with a few paper towels. Nitrates and nitrites are added to improve the shelf-life and appearance. 

Bacon in the U.K. and Canada is different than in the U.S. Their bacon is taken from the back of the pig, making it taste more similar to ham. Both types are high in protein, fat, and sodium.

Bacon Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided for 3 slices (34.5 grams) of bacon, according to the USDA.



  • Calories: 161
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Sodium: 579 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 0.6 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugars: 0 grams
  • Protein: 12 grams

One serving of bacon is not high in calories but it is high in sodium. The recommended amount of sodium per day is 2,300 milligrams. However, the American Heart Association (AHA) advises most adults to strive for an ideal goal of 1,500 milligrams a day. When working toward this goal, one serving of bacon puts you a third of the way there.

Carbs

Bacon contains 0.6 grams of carbs. Although bacon doesn't have any sugar, some brands add it for extra flavor. For example, bacon labeled as brown sugar or maple often has that added to it, which adds sugar content. There is no fiber in bacon.

Fats

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommends limiting your saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your calories. However, they don't specify a limit on total fat. For someone who eats 2,000 calories a day, 200 of those calories should be saturated fats for a total of 22 grams of saturated fats. Keep in mind, the AHA recommends just 13 grams of saturated fat for a 2,000-calorie diet, which could make it more challenging with a serving of bacon.

Protein

Bacon is high in protein with 12 grams per serving. Approximately 10% to 35% of your total daily calories should come from protein. That's 46 to 56 grams of protein a day.

Vitamins and Minerals

Your potassium intake should be 2,600 milligrams and 3,400, and one serving of bacon provides 172 milligrams. Most adults don't get enough potassium, and it's listed as a public health concern in the 2020 to 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Potassium is a mineral necessary for nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and heart and kidney function. Not getting enough potassium can cause high blood pressure, increase the risk of kidney stones, and diminish calcium in your bones.

Bacon also provides a good amount of B vitamins, including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12. You will also get 17 micrograms of selenium, which is about one-third of your daily recommended intake. Bacon is also high in phosphorous, providing 134 micrograms per serving.

Selenium is vital for thyroid gland function, reproduction, and protection from cell damage from free radicals. Phosphorous is important for bone health, making energy, and chemical processes.

Calories

Three slices of bacon, or 34.5 grams, contain 161 calories. That one serving has 108 calories from fat, 2.4 from carbs, and 48 from protein.

Health Benefits

Because bacon is high in protein and low in carbs, it is a popular choice for those following a keto diet plan. It also may help with the absorption of vitamin D and help boost energy. Here is a closer look at the potential benefits of bacon.

May Boost Energy

Bacon provides six of the eight B vitamins, which are vital for brain and energy function. Getting enough B vitamins in your diet is crucial for preventing a vitamin B deficiency.

Bacon is also a good source of dietary fat, which promotes satiety and provides energy. The majority of the fat content in bacon is monounsaturated, which contains heart-healthy oleic acid.

May Improve Vitamin D Absorption

A 2014 study found that those who ate a meal with 30% of the calories from fat significantly increased how much vitamin D they absorbed. In fact, those who had fat with their meal absorbed 32% more vitamin D than those who had a meal without fat.

Plus, the fat in bacon may promote satiety. In fact, research indicates that when a consumer finds a food tasty it can make a meal more satisfying and may aid in weight management. So, if you particularly enjoy bacon, you may find that eating a small amount helps you to feel satiated.

Allergies

Although bacon allergies are uncommon, they can still occur. As with any other type of meat allergy, a bacon allergy can develop during any stage of life.

If you have a bacon allergy, it could be related to alpha-gal syndrome (AGS)—which is also called alpha-gal allergy or tick bite meat allergy. AGS is a serious, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Typically, symptoms occur after people eat meat or are exposed to other products containing alpha-gal.

Symptoms of a bacon allergy may include hives, rash, stomach cramps, sneezing, headaches, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. In rare cases, anaphylaxis may occur, which is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction requiring emergency medical treatment.

The nitrates and nitrites used to preserve bacon may also cause an allergic response. Although rare, symptoms can include headaches and hives.

Adverse Reactions

Even if you do not have an allergy to nitrates or nitrites, it is possible to react to them during later pregnancy. This is due to the accumulation of a substance in blood known as methemoglobin which interacts with the preservative, causing nausea and stomach upset.

Additionally, if you are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), which are sometimes used to treat depression, you will need to limit your intake of bacon and any other foods high in tyramine. Other high-tyramine foods include cheese, processed fish and meat, beans, beer, and fermented foods.

Overconsumption could cause your blood vessels to narrow, possibly leading to critically high blood pressure. Additionally, a potentially dangerous spike in blood pressure, known as malignant hypertension could occur.

Speak with a healthcare provider if you experience any unusual symptoms after eating bacon. You should also share the product label with both the ingredient list and nutritional information during your appointment.

Storage and Food Safety

The best way to store bacon is unopened and in the fridge for seven days or in the freezer for up to four months. Leftover cooked bacon can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days or frozen for 1 month. While it is difficult to determine the temperate of bacon while it's cooking, cooking until crisp should be a safe temperature.

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16 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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